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Google extends online courses to UK job seekers

These Career Certificates include courses in IT support, project management, and UX design

Google has announced the launch of its online courses for UK job seekers in partnership with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

The Google Career Certificates courses cover a range of in-demand skills, from IT support and UX design, to project management and data analytics, which are open for enrolment starting today.

The Google Career Certificates courses usually take up to six months to complete, with some possible to finish within three to five weeks if done full-time. Recognised by industry experts and employers, including Google, the courses don't require any prior experience or a degree in the topic in order for someone to enrol.

Originally priced at around $39 per month, the courses will also be available to some job seekers for free with financial aid, thanks to the 9,500 scholarships offered by Camden Council and the DWP. Universal Credit claimants will also be able to access the courses for free using a referral from their Work Coach, while the Prince's Trust and the INCO Academy are set to provide another 1,500 scholarships aimed for young people from underrepresented and disadvantaged communities across the UK. 

Ben Marson, director of Partnerships at The Prince's Trust said that the organisation's partnership with Google will contribute to its "efforts to close the digital skills gap, allowing The Trust to provide a pool of young, diverse talent for businesses across the UK".

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"Young people have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, accounting for over 60% of the fall in employment, with young people who were already facing disadvantage and adversity being hit harder still," he added.

The Career Certificates were first introduced in the US in August 2020 as an alternative pathway to conventional education for budding tech workers constrained to their homes due to the pandemic. However, the courses could continue well after lockdown restrictions are lifted, with Google reopening enrolment for its flagship training and certification programme earlier this year.

The tech giant also expanded its employer consortium as part of wider efforts to boost digital skills, which include more than 130 businesses, such as Verizon, Deloitte, and SAP.

Commenting on the announcement, chancellor Rishi Sunak said that "nothing is more important than helping people get new jobs". 

"That is the mission of our Work Coaches day in and day out, and I'm delighted they'll be working with Google to give people the digital skills they need to do exactly that," he added.

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